Research Institute on Tropical Medicine (RITM) said Monday the Philippines has only 2,000 available coronavirus or COVID-19 testing kits during a Senate inquiry.
“As we speak today, our stock on hand is good for 2,000 tests,” Dr. Rosanna Ditangco from the Research Institute on Tropical Medicine (RITM) testified during a Senate inquiry.
Ditangco added that the RITN was requesting for an additional P43 million in funding for “various needs,” including the procurement of COVID-19 testing kits.
Meanwhile, another Department of Health official said that more equipment would arrive through the World Health Organization (WHO).
“There’s an incoming 4,500 extraction kits po from WHO. That would be good for 2,000 individuals,” Dr. Alethea De Guzman said.
Senator Nancy Binay said the limited number of testing kits was alarming.
“I don’t want to panic, but you’re making me panic. ‘Yung naririnig namin ngayon is parang hindi niyo pinaghandaan na magkakaroon tayo ng local transmission na mismong si Secretary [Francisco] Duque na ang nagsabi before na it’s just a question of when and then maririnig namin sa inyo na we only have 2,000 testing kits out of our 100 million population. Hindi ba nakakatakot?” the senator asked.
Philippines has only 2,000 available coronavirus testing kits-RITM
Meanwhile, Senate Committee on Health and Demography Christopher “Bong” Go said that coronavirus testing kits should be made available in far-flung provinces to contain the virus effectively.
“Madami na pong maaaring mahawa dahil sa tagal ng resulta, lalong-lalo na po doon sa Mindanao at sa Visayas. Dapat nakakalat po yung mga testing kits natin at yung pinakamabilis na paraan na makumpirma kaagad kung positive po ba,” Go said.
(Many could be infected because of slow results, specifically in Mindanao and Visayas. The testings kits should be scattered, and that is the easiest way to confirm if a patient is positive.)
Senator Imee Marcos, who led the Senate hearing, said she had misgivings over how the DOH would use the requested P2 billion supplemental budget.
DOH Secretary Duque previously said that President Rodrigo Duterte had approved the supplemental budget “in principle.”
Over P2 billion would be used to buy protective gear for health workers, and an additional P10 million would be for procurement of face masks in the country, added Duque.